By Khulekani Dumisa & Benjamin Chunga
The Kia Sportage is Kia’s most successful model to date. Kia has sold 5,000,000 units globally since its launch in 1993. It is also Kia’s most successful model locally. The beautifully designed current generation slumped a bit after it launched locally about two years ago. Kia is hoping that their flagship model can regain some lost ground with the latest tweaks which we break down for you below.
1. Refreshed interior and exterior
Upfront there is a new bumper design and a refreshed, more prominent Kia signature ‘tiger nose’ grille. The headlamps which incorporate LED Daytime Running Lights are retained.
At the rear, Sportage also gains a revised bumper and the back lights get a new lighting signature that will undoubtedly make the vehicle stand out even more.
2. New mags and colours
Other enhancements include a new selection of alloy wheel designs in 16-, 17- or 19-inch sizes (model dependent), as well as a range of new colour options. We particularly like the metallic blue colour.
3. A revised line-up
KIA Motors South Africa has also revised the model line-up of the local range, discontinuing the SX AWD and GT Line specification grades, while increasing the specification and value offering of the existing line-up. Notably, in the EX, the infotainment system is upgraded to include a 7-inch colour touchscreen that incorporates not only the reverse camera display, but also Apple CarPlay (Sportage is Android Auto ready). Included in the EX grade is a singular all-wheel drive model, which also includes an upgrade to sporty 19-inch wheels on 245/45 R19 tyres. In the EX Plus, there is an upgraded 8-inch colour touchscreen that incorporates satellite navigation, the reverse camera display, full Apple CarPlay functionality (Sportage is Android Auto ready), as well as a wireless smartphone charger.
4. New engine
Kia has decided to discontinue both the 2.4 GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) and 1.6 T-GDI (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection) engines found in the previous SX AWD and GT Line models. New to the range is a 1.6-litre GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine that is utilized exclusively in the Sportage Ignite. This new-generation 1,591cc ‘Gamma’ engine produces 97 kW of power and 161 Nm of torque. It reaches the 100 km/h mark in 12.1 seconds and is capable of a top speed of 170 km/h. We encountered this engine at launch and it coped well with the weight of the car. We would be curious to see how it does at altitude.
5. New gearbox
As part of the enhancements of the Sportage, Kia’s 2.0 CRDI engine is now paired with a new KIA’s new eight-speed automatic transmission in the Ignite Plus, EX and EX Plus specification grades. This engine has been designed in-house at Kia with 143 newly-patented technologies. The engine is said to shift more quickly than the outgoing six-speed automatic transmission, and enables more decisive acceleration. At launch we find the new transmission to be smooth and precise in its selection of gears.
We think the revised model line-up and enhancements come at the right time for the Sportage and will undoubtedly offer more choice for the consumers, and also help the Sportage stand out more in a very crowded SUV market.
The pricing for the new Kia Sportage range is as follows:
KIA Sportage 1.6 GDI Ignite (6-Speed Auto): R379,995
KIA Sportage 2.0 Ignite Plus (6-Speed Manual): R389,995
KIA Sportage 2.0 Ignite Plus (6-Speed Auto): R403,995
KIA Sportage 2.0 CRDI Ignite Plus (8-Speed Auto): R453,995
KIA Sportage 2.0 EX (6-Speed Auto): R459,995
KIA Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX (8-Speed Auto): R509,995
KIA Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX AWD (8-Speed Auto): R536,995
KIA Sportage 2.0 EX Plus (6-Speed Auto): R499,995
KIA Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX Plus (8-Speed Auto): R549,995
All Sportage models ship as standard with KIA’s industry-leading unlimited kilometer, five-year warranty, as well as a standard 5-year/90,000 km service plan and 5 years of roadside assistance.
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